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Sometimes you don’t see your friends for long stretches at a time. It can be weeks or months or – in the case of a certain friend of Brad’s – it can be so rare that you manage to catch up that your girlfriend of four years isn’t even convinced that your friend exists at all. And that’s okay, really. You’re welcome to have imginary friends, Brad. Heaps* of people have them. But most of those people grow out of it well before adulthood, and almost none of them invites their imaginary friend to speak at their wedding.

Just saying.

Then Josh actually showed up at our wedding to make a speech. At least – he said he was Josh but anyone could show up and claim to be Josh and claim to have known Brad since high school. Hell, his speech was pretty generic. Anyone can say “congratulations” and “I hope you two will be very happy together” and “Brad’s been my friend since high school.” See how easily I just rattled off those phrases myself? I’m fairly certain those featured in so-called Josh’s speech. I mean … I can’t actually remember. It was four years ago. And I was too excited on the night to pay attention to anything much.

A lesser person might have been convinced by the appearance of Josh, but not me. Oh no. I had it figured out by then.

Brad pads out his social group with Rent-a-FriendsTM.

For variety, I guess. Just make up a name and a bit of a backstory, drop in comments about this person here and there over the course of three or four years, then hire someone to play the part at an important event. It’s probably quite useful. You can tell them what to say, ensure they don’t spout that story about that time you got freaky with two girls in the bushes at an outdoor concert during the Sydney Olympics because that’s just inappropriate at my wedding, dude – if you don’t stop threatening to tell that story I’ll get – oh, say, Josh – to make the speech instead. See?

And then if you had a party and you invited all the cool kids but you were afraid none of them would show up and your other friends would be all “you don’t really know any cool people” you could just hire a few Rent-a-FriendsTM to build up the crowd, and ask them to tell hilarious stories and dance on tables and firetwirl and start a conga line, and then everyone would be all “that was the coolest party ever!” and your life would be complete.

If you are Brad, you’re probably cringing by now. Or exclaiming something along the lines of “You’ve met Josh. You know he’s real. I can’t believe we’re having this discussion again!” But I hope that you’re laughing, because you know I’m hilarious – and that it’s a fantastic business idea (but you already know that because you’ve been using their services all this time) – and really, you should be used to it by now. We’ve been married four years. You chose me. You’ve honestly got no one but yourself to blame.

Happy anniversary, my love.

*To any US readers who are confused by that, “heaps” means “a whole bunch” or “many” or whatever you like to say instead of heaps. It doesn’t mean “multiple piles of” because that doesn’t even make sense.**

** I like footnotes. Just saying.